UC San Diego Receives $35 Million in State Funding for New California Coastal Research Vessel

California legislators have allocated UC San Diego $35 million to design and build a new coastal research vessel with a first-of-its-kind hydrogen-hybrid propulsion system.

The new vessel, which will be operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, will serve as a platform for essential education and research dedicated to understanding the California coast and climate change impacts to the coastal ecosystem.

California’s carbon mitigation efforts may be thwarted by climate change itself

Irvine, Calif., July 22, 2021 – To meet an ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2045, California’s policymakers are relying in part on forests and shrublands to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, but researchers at the University of California, Irvine warn that future climate change may limit the ecosystem’s ability to perform this service.

Danforth Center Joins Decade of Ag Movement

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center today announced it has joined the Decade of Ag movement, recognizing that a unified vision of sustainable food, fiber and energy systems for the future requires collaboration, endorsement and advancement from across the agricultural value chain.

Climate change is driving plant die-offs in Southern California, UCI study finds

Irvine, Calif., June 21, 2021 – A shift is happening in Southern California, and this time it has nothing to do with earthquakes. According to a new study by scientists at the University of California, Irvine, climate change is altering the number of plants populating the region’s deserts and mountains. Using data from the Landsat satellite mission and focusing on an area of nearly 5,000 square miles surrounding Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the research team found that between 1984 and 2017, vegetation cover in desert ecosystems decreased overall by about 35 percent, with mountains seeing a 13 percent vegetation decline.

Johns Hopkins Expert Available to Discuss Heat Wave in U.S. West

As triple-digit temperatures scorch millions in California and the Desert West, stoking wildfires and exacerbating drought conditions, Johns Hopkins experts can discuss the environmental and health impacts of the heat wave, and how officials can better prepare for the rest…

Free Online Video Series Open to the Public ‘Understanding Harmful Algal Blooms in Florida’

The free online series of short videos are designed to provide basic, jargon-free scientific information on harmful algal blooms: what they are; where they live and grow; and causes, impacts, and potential mitigation of blooms. The series is directed toward resource managers and decision-makers as well as the general public.

Single gene boosts climate resilience, yield and carbon capture in crops

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered a single gene that simultaneously boosts plant growth and tolerance for stresses such as drought and salt, all while tackling the root cause of climate change by enabling plants to pull more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

36 Dwarf Galaxies Had Simultaneous “Baby Boom” of New Stars

Three dozen dwarf galaxies far from each other had a simultaneous “baby boom” of new stars, an unexpected discovery that challenges current theories on how galaxies grow and may enhance our understanding of the universe. Galaxies more than 1 million light-years apart should have completely independent lives in terms of when they give birth to new stars. But galaxies separated by up to 13 million light-years slowed down and then simultaneously accelerated their birth rate of stars, according to a Rutgers-led study published in the Astrophysical Journal.

Electric vehicles no environmental savior, could cause power grid problems

As Ford unveils its electric F150, West Virginia University experts note the shift from gasoline-powered engines is not an environmental panacea in the short term, but instead will mean significant and costly upgrades to the nation’s infrastructure. Citing recent events,…

Greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions are lengthening and intensifying droughts

Irvine, Calif., May 17, 2021 — Greenhouse gases and aerosol pollution emitted by human activities are responsible for increases in the frequency, intensity and duration of droughts around the world, according to researchers at the University of California, Irvine. In a study published recently in Nature Communications, scientists in UCI’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering showed that over the past century, the likelihood of stronger and more long-lasting dry spells grew in the Americas, the Mediterranean, western and southern Africa and eastern Asia.

Orangutan Finding Highlights Need to Protect Habitat

Wild orangutans are known for their ability to survive food shortages, but scientists have made a surprising finding that highlights the need to protect the habitat of these critically endangered primates, which face rapid habitat destruction and threats linked to climate change. Scientists found that the muscle mass of orangutans on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia was significantly lower when less fruit was available. That’s remarkable because orangutans are thought to be especially good at storing and using fat for energy, according a Rutgers-led study in the journal Scientific Reports.

Iconic bird makes its home on campus

With its tree-laden campus and adjacent protected natural reserves, UCI enjoys being home to a great variety of bird species. One particular raptor continues to capture the attention of the many avid birders in Orange County: the white-tailed kite. This iconic bird of Orange County – named for its ability to hover in the air while hunting –nearly went extinct throughout California in the early 1900s due to human-related threats.

Catastrophic Sea-Level Rise from Antarctic Melting is Possible with Severe Global Warming

The Antarctic ice sheet is much less likely to become unstable and cause dramatic sea-level rise in upcoming centuries if the world follows policies that keep global warming below a key 2015 Paris climate agreement target, according to a Rutgers coauthored study. But if global warming exceeds the target – 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) – the risk of ice shelves around the ice sheet’s perimeter melting would increase significantly, and their collapse would trigger rapid Antarctic melting. That would result in at least 0.07 inches of global average sea-level rise a year in 2060 and beyond, according to the study in the journal Nature.

Rutgers Experts Available to Discuss New U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Target

New Brunswick, N.J. (April 22, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick professors Robert E. Kopp and Pamela McElwee are available for interviews on President Biden’s new plan, unveiled on Earth Day, for the United States to roughly halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. “Stabilizing the global…

California’s wildfire season has lengthened, and its peak is now earlier in the year

Irvine, Calif., April 22, 2021 — California’s wildfire problem, fueled by a concurrence of climate change and a heightened risk of human-caused ignitions in once uninhabited areas, has been getting worse with each passing year of the 21st century. Researchers in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Irvine have conducted a thorough analysis of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection wildfire statistics from 2000 to 2019, comparing them with data from 1920 to 1999.

Research Update: Cleaning & Disinfecting PPE for Reuse

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented disruption in supply chains across multiple sectors including the shortage of critical personal protective equipment (PPE). In addition to hand washing and social distancing, various PPE items are used to prevent contact with…

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Spring Allergy Season in N.J.

New Brunswick, N.J. (April 20, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick allergy specialist Leonard Bielory is available for interviews on the spring allergy season in New Jersey. “One can expect a brisk allergy season this year since we had a lot…

UCI-led study uses plankton genomes as global biosensors of ocean ecosystem stress

Irvine, Calif., April 15, 2021 — By analyzing gains and losses in the genes of phytoplankton samples collected in all major ocean regions, researchers at the University of California, Irvine have created the most nuanced and high-resolution map yet to show where these photosynthetic organisms either thrive or are forced to adapt to limited quantities of key nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus and iron.

Corals Carefully Organize Proteins to Form Rock-Hard Skeletons

Charles Darwin, the British naturalist who championed the theory of evolution, noted that corals form far-reaching structures, largely made of limestone, that surround tropical islands. He didn’t know how they performed this feat. Now, Rutgers scientists have shown that coral structures consist of a biomineral containing a highly organized organic mix of proteins that resembles what is in our bones. Their study, published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, shows for the first time that several proteins are organized spatially – a process that’s critical to forming a rock-hard coral skeleton.

New U.S. Carbon Monitor website compares emissions among the 50 states

Irvine, Calif., April 7, 2021 — Following last year’s successful launch of a global carbon monitor website to track and display greenhouse gas emissions from a variety of sources, an international team led by Earth system scientists from the University of California, Irvine is unveiling this week a new data resource focused on the United States.

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Viral ‘Pandemics’ in Oceans

New Brunswick, N.J. (April 6, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick microbial oceanographer Kay D. Bidle is available for interviews on the persistent and profound impact of viral infections on algae in the oceans. These infections influence the Earth’s carbon cycle, which helps…

Overfishing of Atlantic Cod Likely Did Not Cause Genetic Changes

Overfishing likely did not cause the Atlantic cod, an iconic species, to evolve genetically and mature earlier, according to a study led by Rutgers University and the University of Oslo – the first of its kind – with major implications for ocean conservation.

Climate change cut farming productivity growth 21% since 1960s

Despite important agricultural advancements to feed the world in the last 60 years, a Cornell University-led study shows that global farming productivity is 21% lower than it could have been without climate change. This is the equivalent of losing about seven years of farm productivity increases since the 1960s.

Bald eagle count quadruples, thanks in part to eBird data boost

For the past 50 years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has been assembling counts of bald eagle nests to track the triumphant recovery of America’s national symbol. But in its new bald eagle population report – tabulated with the help of results using eBird data from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – the USFWS found many more eagles than previously thought to exist in the Lower 48 states.